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Goonch Catfish

Goonch, a giant catfish that grows well over 100 pounds, is the biggest fish on the Ramganga (Himalayan River). This species is widespread throughout South and Southeast Asia, but the largest specimens are usually reported from India. Though very little is known about the elusive giant, our years of experience on the Himalayan river, expert guides and local expertise have led to several successful Goonch expeditions. The Bhikaysen , Jainal area, 40 km upstream from the Corbett tiger reserve in the upper section of the Ramganga, is one of the best stretches for the Goonch.

This giant catfish can grow to a length of over six feet and can run to 250 lb, though the biggest that has been caught on rod & line in recent time was one hundred and sixty-four pounds (Awala Row near Marchula) caught by an American angler in January 2001. The relatively unexplored Jainal area is known for really big catches as well.

Today the goonch is as endangered as the fish that it compares weights with- the mahseer. In rivers where they are found, local human beings are the prime consumers of the goonch. Modern day methods have been refined to dynamiting and electrocution.

For the sporting angler who likes landing big weights, the goonch can be intensely gratifying or downright frustrating, especially if the cause of loss is weak tackle. Goonch can be extremely local and sometimes very specific in habitat. A short-cut to finding such places is to spend time doing it. The other way is to go with a reliable guide.